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Wool carpets form a significant part of the woollens finds from the Alan burials of the 8th–9th centuries, found in the rock necropolises of the North-Western Caucasus. Under the burial, the carpet was placed on the bottom of the grave, and then the deceased was laid upon it lying on the back with arms stretched along the body. Various carpets were used for the ceremony, both locally produced and imported. The paper presents the result from the analysis of the production technique of eight carpet samples from the necropolises of Moshchevaya Balka and Podorvannaya Balka. The purpose of the research was to describe the nature, structure and quality of textile fibers, to identify the types of carpets, and to analyze the methods of their manufacturing, which were different. The main types are pile carpets and pileless ones, as well as rug carpets. They used both imported and locally produced pileless carpets. The difference between them is in the rich polychromy of textiles produced and painted outside the region, perhaps, in Central Asia. Carpets of local production are coarser, the main decoration technique consisted in using fibers of light and dark tones, besides, the most accessible dyes of red and yellow colors were used. The imperfection of the dyeing technique resulted in their fading. All fragments of carpets with pile stripes are unevenly coloured in red. The warp threads and weft threads do not differ in quality. The presence of woolen textiles with a wide variety of techniques of their manufacturing and decorating is related to the location of sites on trade routes, along which active flow of goods took place in different directions.


Archaeology, the Caucasus, the Alans, rock burial grounds Moshchevaya Balka and Podornvannaya Balka, wool textiles, carpets

Irina I. Elkina, Alexander S. Pakhunov, Umar Ju. Kochkarov, Alexandra E. Grinko, Ekaterina G. Devlet

Institute of Archaeology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

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